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Chapter 5 Pap Starts in on a New Life

  • I HAD shut the door to. Then I turned around and there he was. I used to b_cared of him all the time, he tanned me so much. I reckoned I was scared now,
  • too; but in a minute I see I was mistaken—that is, after the first jolt, a_ou may say, when my breath sort of hitched, he being so unexpected; but righ_way after I see I warn't scared of him worth bothring about.
  • He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and tangled and greasy,
  • and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behin_ines. It was all black, no gray; so was his long, mixed-up whiskers. Ther_arn't no color in his face, where his face showed; it was white; not lik_nother man's white, but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body'_lesh crawl—a tree-toad white, a fish-belly white. As for his clothes—jus_ags, that was all. He had one ankle resting on t'other knee; the boot on tha_oot was busted, and two of his toes stuck through, and he worked them now an_hen. His hat was laying on the floor—an old black slouch with the top cave_n, like a lid.
  • I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking at me, with his chair tilte_ack a little. I set the candle down. I noticed the window was up; so he ha_lumb in by the shed. He kept a-looking me all over. By and by he says:
  • "Starchy clothes—very. You think you're a good deal of a big-bug, DON'T you?"
  • "Maybe I am, maybe I ain't," I says.
  • "Don't you give me none o' your lip," says he. "You've put on considerabl_any frills since I been away. I'll take you down a peg before I get done wit_ou. You're educated, too, they say—can read and write. You think you'r_etter'n your father, now, don't you, because he can't? I'LL take it out o_ou. Who told you you might meddle with such hifalut'n foolishness, hey?—wh_old you you could?"
  • "The widow. She told me."
  • "The widow, hey?—and who told the widow she could put in her shovel about _hing that ain't none of her business?"
  • "Nobody never told her."
  • "Well, I'll learn her how to meddle. And looky here—you drop that school, yo_ear? I'll learn people to bring up a boy to put on airs over his own fathe_nd let on to be better'n what HE is. You lemme catch you fooling around tha_chool again, you hear? Your mother couldn't read, and she couldn't write,
  • nuther, before she died. None of the family couldn't before THEY died. _an't; and here you're a- swelling yourself up like this. I ain't the man t_tand it—you hear? Say, lemme hear you read."
  • I took up a book and begun something about General Washington and the wars.
  • When I'd read about a half a minute, he fetched the book a whack with his han_nd knocked it across the house. He says:
  • "It's so. You can do it. I had my doubts when you told me. Now looky here; yo_top that putting on frills. I won't have it. I'll lay for you, my smarty; an_f I catch you about that school I'll tan you good. First you know you'll ge_eligion, too. I never see such a son."
  • He took up a little blue and yaller picture of some cows and a boy, and says:
  • "What's this?"
  • "It's something they give me for learning my lessons good."
  • He tore it up, and says:
  • "I'll give you something better—I'll give you a cowhide."
  • He set there a-mumbling and a-growling a minute, and then he says:
  • "AIN'T you a sweet-scented dandy, though? A bed; and bedclothes; and _ook'n'-glass; and a piece of carpet on the floor—and your own father got t_leep with the hogs in the tanyard. I never see such a son. I bet I'll tak_ome o' these frills out o' you before I'm done with you. Why, there ain't n_nd to your airs—they say you're rich. Hey?—how's that?"
  • "They lie—that's how."
  • "Looky here—mind how you talk to me; I'm a-standing about all I can stan_ow—so don't gimme no sass. I've been in town two days, and I hain't hear_othing but about you bein' rich. I heard about it away down the river, too.
  • That's why I come. You git me that money to-morrow—I want it."
  • "I hain't got no money."
  • "It's a lie. Judge Thatcher's got it. You git it. I want it."
  • "I hain't got no money, I tell you. You ask Judge Thatcher; he'll tell you th_ame."
  • "All right. I'll ask him; and I'll make him pungle, too, or I'll know th_eason why. Say, how much you got in your pocket? I want it."
  • "I hain't got only a dollar, and I want that to—"
  • "It don't make no difference what you want it for—you just shell it out."
  • He took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then he said he was goin_own town to get some whisky; said he hadn't had a drink all day. When he ha_ot out on the shed he put his head in again, and cussed me for putting o_rills and trying to be better than him; and when I reckoned he was gone h_ome back and put his head in again, and told me to mind about that school,
  • because he was going to lay for me and lick me if I didn't drop that.
  • Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge Thatcher's and bullyragged him,
  • and tried to make him give up the money; but he couldn't, and then he swor_e'd make the law force him.
  • The judge and the widow went to law to get the court to take me away from hi_nd let one of them be my guardian; but it was a new judge that had just come,
  • and he didn't know the old man; so he said courts mustn't interfere an_eparate families if they could help it; said he'd druther not take a chil_way from its father. So Judge Thatcher and the widow had to quit on th_usiness.
  • That pleased the old man till he couldn't rest. He said he'd cowhide me till _as black and blue if I didn't raise some money for him. I borrowed thre_ollars from Judge Thatcher, and pap took it and got drunk, and went a-blowin_round and cussing and whooping and carrying on; and he kept it up all ove_own, with a tin pan, till most midnight; then they jailed him, and next da_hey had him before court, and jailed him again for a week. But he said HE wa_atisfied; said he was boss of his son, and he'd make it warm for HIM.
  • When he got out the new judge said he was a-going to make a man of him. So h_ook him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had him t_reakfast and dinner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him,
  • so to speak. And after supper he talked to him about temperance and suc_hings till the old man cried, and said he'd been a fool, and fooled away hi_ife; but now he was a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobod_ouldn't be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not loo_own on him. The judge said he could hug him for them words; so he cried, an_is wife she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that had always bee_isunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it. The old man said tha_hat a man wanted that was down was sympathy, and the judge said it was so; s_hey cried again. And when it was bedtime the old man rose up and held out hi_and, and says:
  • "Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold of it; shake it. There's _and that was the hand of a hog; but it ain't so no more; it's the hand of _an that's started in on a new life, and'll die before he'll go back. You mar_hem words—don't forget I said them. It's a clean hand now; shake it—don't b_feard."
  • So they shook it, one after the other, all around, and cried. The judge's wif_he kissed it. Then the old man he signed a pledge—made his mark. The judg_aid it was the holiest time on record, or something like that. Then the_ucked the old man into a beautiful room, which was the spare room, and in th_ight some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to the porch-roof an_lid down a stanchion and traded his new coat for a jug of forty-rod, an_lumb back again and had a good old time; and towards daylight he crawled ou_gain, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left arm i_wo places, and was most froze to death when somebody found him after sun-up.
  • And when they come to look at that spare room they had to take sounding_efore they could navigate it.
  • The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could reform th_ld man with a shotgun, maybe, but he didn't know no other way.